Punjab police pick up 34 in Pearl case
TOBA TEK SINGH- The Punjab police picked up 34 people from Toba Tek Singh and Vehari on Friday night and Saturday in a bid to trace Amjad Hussain Farooqui, whom Sheikh Omar, prime suspect in the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl, described as ‘go-between.’
A resident of Toba Tek Singh district, Farooqui had reportedly taken away Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter, on Jan 23 from a Karachi hotel for an interview.
The police and other investigation agencies raided his village, Chak 686/27 GB near Pirmahal, some 40km from here, and arrested about a dozen people.
Being interrogated at some unknown place, the arrested include Farooqui’s brothers Mohammad Javed and Mohammad Amer, and village prayer leaders Ghulam Akbar and Qari Mohammad Ramzan.
They are said to have apprised the investigation officers that last time Amjad was seen in the village in 1988 when he was an activist of a religious organisation and was given the job of collecting donations.
A source said that after the police operation most of his relatives had left the village. However, five more police teams are conducting raids in various parts of the district in search of Farooqui.
Another source said nine of the arrested had been released after preliminary investigation.
District police chief Amer Zulfiqar Khan was, however, tightlipped, and said: “Whenever there is any news in this regard, local newsmen will be informed.”
Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider, meanwhile, told newsmen in Lahore on Saturday that two more suspects had been arrested from Toba Tek Singh. “They are being questioned by the relevant authorities that would give further lead to the investigators, assisted by two members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),” the minister added.
VEHARI: The local police and other investigating agencies arrested at least 20 alleged accomplices and relatives of the suspect from Jalla Jeam Mailsi, Bilal Town and 9-11/WB.
Sources identified some of the arrested as Qazi Rana Zulfiqar, Ateequr Rehman, Tasleem, Mushtaq Ahmed, Mohammad Tahir, Mohammad Anwer Tarar, Sheraz, Fiaz Ahmed and Mohammad Munir.
Sources said almost all the arrested belonged to the outlawed Jaish-i-Mohammad and Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan. They were reportedly driven to an unknown place for investigation.
When Dawn contacted the police officials, they did not disclose the number and names of the arrested.